With its solar heating, energy-saving devices and even a reed bed sewage system, it’s the sort of place of which his father would approve. This is the environmentally-friendly mini-mansion which Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton are expected to make their first home.
The £5million house will be built on the Duchy of Cornwall’s Harewood Park Estate in the Wye Valley and, now Herefordshire Council has given it the green light, work should be completed around 2010 – just as William is expected to leave the Army.
The house will have a library, stables, an orangery, drawing room, dining room and six bedrooms. There is no nursery, but no shortage of space for one.
Prince Charles has taken a keen interest in the project and has insisted the architects marry “architectural presence” with a “strong sustainability agenda”.
A large rainwater-reservoir will be built for washing clothes, watering the garden and flushing toilets. Each bathroom will have water-saving fittings, while both the dishwasher and washing machine will be chosen from a range of energy saving devices. Waste water will be treated using a reed bed system, which breaks down sewage naturally by using the oxygen created by beds of common reeds. Heating and water will be provided by a wood-chip boiler in winter and solar panels in summer, which will be hidden on the roof. Kitchen leftovers can be turned into organic compost.
Reclaimed bricks will be used to build the house, and timber will be sourced from the Duchy’s estate. The roof, made of salvaged Welsh slate, will be insulated with sheep’s wool.
Visitors will be greeted by the sight of a large, rectangular property built around an indoor courtyard with an impressive portico entrance.
Along the outside walls are a series of triumphal arches and carvings of winged lions flanking lyres. This, according to the architect, makes reference to the Greek god Apollo who could heal, purify and promote harmony. Also dotted around the walls are several bronze classical-style heads known as caryatids, while even the four-bay garage block derives from the ‘Choragic monument of Thrysallus’ – a 4th century BC Greek monument on the slopes of the Parthenon in Athens.
News item by Rebecca English for the Daily Mail UK, January 30 2007
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